There are more than fifty-three million schoolchildren and more than 135,000 public and private schools in the United States. Are these schools safe and healthy places for children to grow, play, and learn? Or are we exposing children to unhealthy pollution?
Children are known to be more vulnerable than adults to the effects of pollution. They also spend a significant amount of their time in and around school. Children's health and well-being are viewed by many as top priorities in American society, but links between the location of schools, pollution, children's school performance, and health have received little attention and are not well understood. While EPA released draft voluntary guidelines in November 2010, these guidelines have not been studied for effectiveness, and the extent to which they will be followed is unclear. Meanwhile, some states have chosen to pass laws that restrict school siting when there are nearby sources of pollution or contamination.
In this project, we seek to answer the following questions. What data can be brought to bear on school siting related to environmental conditions (current and future), public health outcomes, and disparity by race and class? What are the legal constraints and opportunities? Are new policies necessary to guide the siting of new schools or address concerns with existing schools, and if so, how should they be structured?